The day for our Pilanesberg game drive has arrived. We leave Johannesburg early in the morning around 06H00. It is approximately 3 hours drive from Johannesburg to Pilanesberg and we should arrive at the Pilanesberg National Park shortly after 09H00.
Hartebeespoort Dam En Route
We do make a pit-stop at Hartbeespoort dam which is about the half way mark. There is enoughtime for refreshments at a local coffee shop and a visit to the restrooms before we are on our way. Hartbeespoort dam is a well-known resort town located in the Bojanala Region of the North West Province. The towns main attraction is the 56 km shoreline dam that was constructed way back in 1925. The dam is surrounded by the sublime Magaliesberg Mountain Range. This resort town is a popular weekend getaway spot where visitors can enjoy a variety of water sports and other activities. Sailing, para-sailing, windsurfing, skiing, paragliding, hang-gliding and hot air ballooning are among the popular activities. I make a note to come here one weekend to explore the scenic surrounds and to partake in some of the activities.
Pilanesberg National Park and Nature Reserve
As we enter the gates of the Pilanesberg reserve we see plenty of antelope running freely. This is a drive through reserve and our guide knows the roads and routes well. However the park occupies a massive 570 square kilometers so we will only see a part of it. The park is located in a transition zone between the Kalahari and the Low veld and this mix of landscapes makes it an ecologically rich environment. This mix of landscapes combines sandy Savannah and wide open spaces of low veld. As a result the park is home to an abundance of birds, a mix of plant life and big variety of game animals. We hope to see some or all of the big 5 (Elephant, Lion, Rhinoceros, Buffalo, Leopard).
During the first leg of our morning bride we spot many antelope, kudu, wildebeest, warthogs and aardwolf. After about 35 minutes of driving we stop at one of the hides where we disembark from the vehicle to enjoy some exclusive bird and game viewing. The hides are well fenced and safe. They also have toilets and restrooms.
The hides provide excellent wild life viewing and photographic opportunities. Most hides are located next a dam or water hole and are all well constructed. They offer seating where you can wait for that elusive opportunity or Kodak moment. The most popular hide is the Mankwe hide. This C shaped hide faces East and offers great wildlife viewing opportunities in the mornings and the afternoons.
The Mankwe hide is located on the edge of the Mankwe dam and extends out into the water and is accessible along a raised walkway. The Mankwe is the largest dam in the reserve and we see an abundance of wild life here including cormorants, egrets, kingfisher, hippos and even crocodiles and leguans.
Lunch at a Pilanesberg Lodge
Our morning game drive lasted almost 3 hours and now it is time for lunch at one of the lodges in the Pilanesberg. On our way to the lodge we spot some Buffalo in the distance. It is good to have binoculars on a game drive. Lunch at the lodge is tasty and sociable. Giraffes come close to the fence and add to the wild life atmosphere.
Afternoon game drive Pilanesberg
The highlight of our afternoon game drive was spotting an elephant in a water hole drinking tons of water. This was the first time i saw and elephant so close-up in the wild. We did not see all of the big 5 – we saw buffalo and elephant and of course many other game, birds and wildlife. It was a great outing and one i look forward to doing again. Book a Pilanesberg Tour and Game Drive